DJD looks to past and future with new show Old/New/Borrow/Blue

By Calgary Herald
3 min read | January 20, 2023

It may be ‘old’ but it’s still one of the most popular pieces in DJD’s repertoire.

Every Tap Show Needs a Soft Shoe (which premiered in 1996) makes a return as part of the dance company’s upcoming show called OLD/NEW/BORROWED/BLUE, which runs Jan. 19-29 as part of the High Performance Rodeo.

A variety show of sorts, it will feature different choreographers, music styles and ideas spanning DJD’s 30-year history.

Every Tap Show is one of two pieces in the ‘old’ category from Vicki Adams Willis, one of the founders of DJD, who was inducted into the Dance Canada Danse Hall of fame last fall with the other two co-founders, Hannah Stilwell and Michele Moss. This piece is perhaps the most requested DJD dance piece of all time, according to DJD artistic director Kimberley Cooper.

Every Tap Show Needs a Soft Shoe, choreographed by Vicki Adams Willis for DJD show Old/New/Borrowed/Blue. Photo, Noel Bégin jpg

There are also two new pieces in the show at the DJD Dance Centre – one by a former dancer and another by a current member. Sarisa F. de Toledo was a company dancer for 22 years and she returns as a choreographer on Habanera with music composed by her husband Rubim de Toldeo. The music plays with the idea of habanera, a more than 200-year-old rhythm rooted in Africa and born in Havana. Sabrina Naz Comanescu is a current DJD dancer in her eighth season who created the other new piece in the show. Her work is danced to original new music by Luis Tovar, a Juno-nominated Venezuelan-born musician now living in Alberta. Comanescu’s piece, The Storm We Are In, is about a stormy love affair, and it incorporates a steel pan drum which gives it a Caribbean flavour.

OLD/NEW/BORROWED/BLUE is a wonderful variety show offering everything from the intense and dramatic to the light and humorous,” says Cooper. “Filled with a selection of diverse pieces, this show has it all – joy, sorrow, passion, comedy, even death.”

Habanera, choreographed by Sarisa F. de Toledo for the DJD show Old/New/Borrowed/Blue. Photo, Noel Bégin jpg

The “borrowed” piece is RITEchoreographed by contemporary dance artist Marie France Forcier, who is an associate professor of dance at the U of C School of Creative and Performing Arts. It is danced to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The original cast of this piece was larger than the DJD company so DJD invited four of the original dancers to help perform it.

The “blue” part of the show features short transitional pieces created by Cooper, danced to blues music, “with a sense of whimsy and fun, because not all blues ache in the same way,” she said.

The show features DJD dancers Shahrzad Ahmadi, Thys Armstrong, Scott Augustine, Cassandra Bowerman, Sabrina Naz ComanescuMara Liao EsnardKaja Irwin, Natasha Korney, and Shemar Hebert (understudy); and guest dancers Cindy Ansah, Kadin Aumentado, Maryn Bjorndahl, and Emilie Field. Costumes are by Bronte Christie, with lighting by Steve Isom.

To learn more or to purchase tickets, visit  or call 403-245-3533.